Blogs by Flo Fitzpatrick
2/6/2011 9:53:29 AM
About six years ago, I had a conversation with two very intelligent and delightful ladies after a meeting of our local writing chapter (in New Jersey.) We were discussing an upcoming conference and I asked them if they were going to try and get an appointment with an editor or agent. Identical sheepish looks crossed their faces when they stated, “no.” I asked why not and was told that they’d had appointments the year before. They been quite successful because the editors had asked to see the full manuscript they’d been pitching. The problem was they didn’t have a full manuscript to send. They’d never finished writing that book. A year had passed and the novel still languished somewhere inside a computer.
Fast forward to three years ago when I was living in Manhattan. (Oh - before I got any further, I have to explain - yes- I’ve moved a lot in my life but the last five years have been especially crazy. Jersey, New York, Texas, Alabama, back to New York, back to Texas! Don’t ask. I just wish I owned stock in Penske.) Anyway, I kept meeting people who would ask me what I did and when I’d say “I’m a writer” they would get excited and tell me, “Me too!” We’d talk about what we write (mystery, sci-fi, women’s fiction, romance, non-fiction self-help – it ran the gamut.) They’d ask if I was published. I’d reply, “Yes – you?” The answer always seemed like Yogi Berra’s famous, “déjà vu all over again.” Response one: “Well, I haven’t finished anything yet.” Response two: “ I haven’t sent anything out, nor have I tried to self-pub through e-readers or print on demand.”
Apparently there’s a huge fear of taking risks out in the world today. Painters don’t put the last bit of color on the painting. Writers don’t finish the story or play. Sculptors leave an arm or two on the floor. I’m not a psychologist but I can only surmise that a lot of this is fear of rejection or failure.
I’ve been working in fields notorious for rejections my entire life and I’d like to state for the record “Rejections don’t kill you.” I’ve had more than my share, as has any one ever working in the arts. Yes, those rejections are painful and may make you head for the nearest cartoon of Double Chocolate Rocky Road, but it’s a pretty sure bet you’ll survive - you just may be a bit chubbier on the other side.
I personally think it’s hard to grow as a person unless you take a few risks. Not necessarily deep sea diving for buried treasure or bungee jumping into the Grand Canyon - unless you’re a Criss Angel and can manage that without fear of death or major maiming! I’m talking about finishing – or even starting something you’ve dreamed about doing for years. Why not just take that risk? Sure, consider what could happen if you “fail” but if you think you can handle rejection – or success – then give it a go.
Finish that novel or play or short story – and send it out. Finish that canvas or mold that piece of marble. Try out for that part at the local theatre. Start your own business. File your name with the county and run for sheriff. Move to a new city or an old ghost town. Take scuba lessons or flying lessons. Take the money you’ve saved for a vacation to Paris and actually go to Paris.
Whatever your passion is, don’t be afraid to take a risk. If absolutely nothing else, you can be proud that you finished – something half the world doesn’t do.
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More Blogs by Flo Fitzpatrick
Writers Who Care - Tuesday, December 20, 2011
A WRiters Work - Monday, December 05, 2011
Tell Me a Story! - Tuesday, October 25, 2011
A Gentle Ghost Story - Sunday, October 09, 2011
I Got a Name - Part Two - Saturday, April 16, 2011
Self- E and POD versus Trad - Wednesday, March 23, 2011
More Dialogue Tips for Writers - Friday, March 18, 2011
How I Spent Spring Break (A Cautionary Tale) - Wednesday, March 16, 2011
I got a Name - Friday, March 11, 2011
Want to help name a book? - Tuesday, March 08, 2011
Spring Break - Break! - Saturday, March 05, 2011
Dialogue Tips for Writers - Wednesday, February 23, 2011
Writing Tip - Singing -Keep it OFF the Page - Tuesday, February 15, 2011
Respect - A Writing Nudge - Friday, February 11, 2011
To Stupid to Live? Ouch - Wednesday, February 09, 2011
Writer's Tip - Know Thyself - Tuesday, February 08, 2011
"Risky" Business - Sunday, February 06, 2011